By Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 23, 2020
Members of the 606th Air Control Squadron operate the Theater Operationally Resilient Command and Control system during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 22, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is a joint and multinational integrated air and missile defense exercise that involves Airmen and Soldiers from the United States and service members from the Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish and Swedish armed forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Charles Wilder, 606th Air Control Squadron assistant operations superintendent, manipulates an Ultra High Frequency radio during exercise Astral Knight 20 at Malbork Air Base, Poland, Sept. 22, 2020. Astral Knight 20 is an integrated air and missile defense exercise featuring a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Tory Cusimano)
The 606th Air Control Squadron, call sign “Primo,” is the U.S. Air Force’s only Control and Reporting Center outside the continental United States.
Primo’s mission is mobile command and control. The squadron can load equipment worth millions of dollars onto trucks and convoy nearly anywhere in Europe from its home station at Aviano Air Base, Italy.
The task requires the full weight of the 606th ACS’s 27 different Air Force Specialty Codes to complete.
“You’re talking about 250 to 300 Airmen out the door,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Charles Wilder, 606th ACS assistant operations superintendent.
As the Air Force focused on becoming more agile, the 606th ACS looked for ways to reduce their footprint. They needed a way to get out the door and mission ready even faster.
Enter the Theater Operationally Resilient Command and Control system, or TORCC.
Instead of 300 Airmen and dozens of trucks, the TORCC only requires a team of roughly 10-25 Airmen and roughly half a pallet.
“It allows us to [become] so much lighter and leaner, and really get after that Agile Combat Employment mindset [leadership] has been asking for,” Wilder said.
At Astral Knight 20, a joint, multinational integrated air and missile defense exercise in Poland, the 606th ACS and U.S. Air Forces Europe and Air Forces Africa are putting the TORCC to work for the first time.
“Words can’t explain how excited I am and how proud I am of the team,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Brian Robertson, 606th ACS commander. “What we’re doing here is definitely in line with the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s ‘Accelerate, Change, or Lose’ concept.”
The TORCC can link into the 606th ACS’s TPS-75 radar, but it can also interface with any partner nation’s already existing systems. At AK20, it’s connected to a Polish air force feed at Malbork Air Base, Poland.
“The Polish have been absolutely great,” Wilder said. “We’re developing that NATO relationship and interoperability.”
As the team becomes more familiar with the system and gets more opportunities to use it, it will bring to bear a new capability for the 606th ACS and USAFE-AFAFRICA.
“[Astral Knight 20] is just the first step,” Wilder said. “This represents a giant leap forward for command and control across the [Major Command].”